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Chapecoense Soccer Rebounds From Tragedy

Zach Meister, Sports Editor

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The soccer world suffered a terrible loss on November 28, when the Brazilian club soccer team, Chapecoense, based out of a smaller town named Chapeco, was involved in a horrific plane crash. The plane, which was filled with company workers, journalists covering the team, and the players themselves, was said to be out of fuel, leading to total electric failure.

Out of the 77 total people on board the LaMia flight, only 6 survived the tragic accident. Three of these survivors were players for the team, as backup goalie Jackson Follman, as well as defenders Alan Ruschel and Helio Zemper Neto. The other three survivors were two crew members and one journalist. However, all the surviving players were placed in critical condition.

Neto was not initially told of the accident as his doctor, Carlos Mendoca, said “There is a recommendation from the psychologist not to tell him, and to avoid an emotional shock that would be detrimental to his clinical recovery at this time. We are waiting for a more informed opinion from the specialist.”

According to The Independent, Neto’s first words to his doctor after he regained consciousness asked how his team fared in their game. The team was headed to play in the Copa Sudamericana against Atletico Nacional before the fatal crash. However, the team was obviously unable to perform in the game after the horrific crash. The CONMEBOL later announced that the Chapecoense team would be declared the champions of the Copa Sudamericana. Atletico Nacional would be awarded the Centennial Fair Play Award, as they insisted that the trophy should be given to ChapecoensChapecoense Soccer Rebounds From Tragedy

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“I really admire what Atletico Nacional did for the Chapecoense team, what happened with the crash is horrible, and the team really does deserve the title. Hopefully it can inspire the club and new players for years to come,” said senior soccer player Connor Noto.

The team was recently awarded the trophy at a charity match with Palmeiras, in their first game since the horrific incident. The three surviving players of the crash, Neto, Ruschel, and Follman in a wheelchair, took their turns hoisting the trophy in front of a sold out crowd in honor of their past teammates. It was a very emotional scene, as all the players and their family members who were awarded medals, broke down crying. Tremendous support was also shown for Atletico Nacional, as fans honored not only the bravery of the Chapecoense, but also the sportsmanship of Nacional, through various flags and chants.

Goalkeeper Jackson Follman with the Copa Sudamericana Trophy http://theskynews.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/chapecoense-21012017.jpg

In another emotional twist, radio journalist Rafael Henzel was brought in to announce the match. Henzel was one of the few journalists covering the Chapecoense team who survived the crash, and the game marked his first return to broadcasting since the incident.

In their returning game, Palmeiras struck first with a goal in the 11th minute, but just two minutes later, newly signed defender, Douglas Grolli, was able to fire in the first goal for the Chapecoense and level the score. The team went on to draw their first game back, as the score held steady at 1-1.

It was an especially inspiring performance considering that the majority of the team had to be replaced, and yet they held on to a draw with the Brazilian champions. Chapecoense is expected to compete in a variety of fundraising games in the upcoming months, including a much anticipated match with world power Barcelona.

 

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Chapecoense Soccer Rebounds From Tragedy